Planting colonies

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Planting colonies
Planting colonies
In the 1500s and 1600s, Spain, France, the Netherlands, and Sweden
planted colonies in the New World.
Despite a slow start, England, too would set up its own colonies.
Some terms to know:
• charter - In government and law, a formal document by which the monarch
or state grants and acknowledges certain rights, liberties, or powers to a
colony or group of people. Colonial charters normally required the
proprietors to abide by basic English laws but they were given the right to
use the colony's land and to defend and administer the colony as they saw
• colonial system - In government the pattern of relationships between a
dominant nation and it's dependent territories. Together a ruling country
and its colonies constitute an empire.
• colony - A settlement made by people who leave their own country to
settle in another land, but who still remain citizens of their original country.
After Columbus, many European countries began to found colonies all over
the world.
Three Worlds collide:
greatest consequence of European colonization of the New World: a massive
transplanting of people from the continents of Europe and Africa to the
continent of North America across thousands of miles of ocean.
Whereas Amerindian societies appeared to be in an arrested state of
development, European immigrants brought technology with them and they
used it to tame the land and create a new country.
Technology was a by-product of Europe's long fascination with science and had
produced very sophisticated tools and machines, chemicals, navigational
instruments, devices for keeping time, guns and so forth: Items that were
virtually unknown to the native cultures of America before the colonists arrived.
The transplanted people changed the landscape of the new
continent, cutting down dense forests across thousands of square
miles of countryside and replacing them with cultivated fields.
Large colonial cities and towns, with permanent buildings of brick
and stone, built in the architectural styles of Europe dotted the
• European colonists brought their language, customs, religions, and
racial beliefs to America, and they adapted their old ways of doing
things to make them work in a strange new land.
• Most changes were made in how they farmed and lived their daily lives, but
others were in the laws they made and the ways they governed.
• Things like these blended together during the almost 200 years that England
ruled in America and helped lay the foundation for the unique culture of an
independent United States of America.
• Traces of Spanish, French, Dutch, Swedish, German, and Scots-Irish culture
still remains in parts of America as well.
Bernard Bailyn: Ideological Origins of the
American Revolution
• “By 1763 the great landmarks of European life—the church and the idea of orthodoxy, the state and the idea
of authority: much of the array of institutions and ideas that buttressed the society of the ancient regime—
had faded in their exposure to the open, wilderness environment of America. But until the disturbances of
the 1760’s these changes had not been seized upon as grounds for a reconsideration of society and
politics….Then, after 1760—and especially in the decade after 1765—they were brought into open discussion
as the colonists sought to apply advanced principles of society and politics to their own immediate problems.
The original issue of the Anglo-American conflict was of course, the question of the extent of Parliament’s
jurisdiction in the colonies….The debate involved eventually a wide range of social and political problems, and
it ended by 1776 in what may be called the conceptualization of American life ….”
Bernard Bailyn on the emergence of a unique
world view in America:
• “By [1776] Americans had come to think of themselves as in a special category, uniquely placed by history to
capitalize on, to complete and fulfill, the promise of man’s existence. The changes that had overtaken their
provincial societies, they saw, had been good: elements not of deviance and retrogression but of betterment
and progress; not a lapse into primitivism, but an elevation to a higher plane of political and social life than
had ever been reached before….[The intellectual] history of the years of crisis from 1763-1776 is the story of
the clarification and consolidation under the pressure of events of a view of the world and of America’s place
in it only partially seen before. Elements of this picture had long been present in the colonies—some dated
from as far back as the settlements themselves—but they had existed in balance, as it were, with other,
conflicting views. Expressed mainly on occasions of controversy, they had appeared most often as
partisan arguments, without unique appeal, status, or claim to legitimacy. Then, in the intense political
heat of the decade after 1763, these long popular, though hitherto inconclusive ideas about the world and
America’s place in it were fused into a comprehensive view, unique in its moral and intellectual appeal. It is
the development of this view to the point of overwhelming persuasiveness to the majority of American
leaders and the meaning this view gave to the events of the time, and not simply an accumulation of
grievances, that explains the origins of the American Revolution.”
Quote from Charles Andrews
“We sometimes hear that revolutions are not made but happen.
In their immediate causes this is not true—for revolutions do not
happen, they are made, in that they are the creatures of
propaganda and manipulation. But in reality, revolutions are
not made. They are the detonations of explosive materials, long
accumulating and often long dormant. They are the resultants
of a vast complex of economic, political, social, and legal forces,
which taken collectively are the masters, not the servants, of
statesmen and political agitators. They are never sudden in
their origin, but look back to influences long in the making [i.e.
‘remoter causes,’ such as ‘the history, institutions, and mental
past of the parties to the conflict.’].”
Source: AHA Presidential Address at Ann
Arbor Michigan (12/02/1925)
Charles Andrews contd.
“A government, representative of a privileged social and political
order that took existing conditions as a matter of course, setting
nature at defiance and depending wholly on art, was bound
sooner or later to come into conflict with a people, whose life in
America was in closest touch with nature and characterized by
growth and change and constant readjustments. In that country
were groups of men, women, and children, the greater portion of
whom were of English ancestry, numbering at first a few hundreds
and eventually more than two millions, who were scattered over
many miles of continent and island and were living under various
forms of government. These people, more or less unconsciously,
under the influence of new surroundings and imperative needs,
were establishing a new order of society and laying the
foundations of a new political system.”
Charles Andrews contd.
“The story of how this was done—how that which was English
slowly and imperceptibly merged into that which was American….
is the story of the gradual elimination of those elements, feudal
and proprietary, that were foreign to the normal life of a frontier
land, and of the gradual adjustment of the colonists to the
restraints and restrictions that were imposed upon them by the
commercial policy of the mother country. It is the story also of the
growth of the colonial assemblies and of the education and
experience that the colonists were receiving in the art of political
self-government. It is above all—and no phase of colonial history
is of greater significance—the story of the gradual transformation
of these assemblies from the provincial councils that the home
government intended them to be into miniature parliaments. At
the end of a long struggle with the prerogative and other forms of
outside interference, they emerged powerful legislative bodies, as
self-conscious in their way as the House of Commons in England
was becoming during the same eventful years.”
The New World colonies differed from each other—those differences were due in part to geography and to
the varied cultures from which settlers came.
Although similar processes took place throughout the Americas, the particulars varied from place to place,
create a diverse range of cultures.
The society that arose in each colony reflected the colonies mix of native peoples, its connections to the slave
trade, and the characteristics of the European society establishing the colony.
For the colonists the
biggest changes
came not just from
living in a mostly
untamed land but
from being thrown
into the American
cultural "melting
pot" that was made
up of people from
many different parts
of the world. And it
was from the
combination of so
many differing ideas
and customs
that the diverse and
amazing culture of
the United States
was to emerge.
North American colonial empires and colonies had
several common characteristics:
Each hoped to find easily extracted forms of wealth as well as great indigenous civilizations.
Each seized Indian lands, enslaving Indians and selling them to plantations in the West
Each responded to the natives they encountered with a mix of violence and diplomacy.
The French, Dutch, and English impacted/influenced fewer Indians (e.g. Christianity,
alcohol, disease, muskets and gunpowder, etc.) than the Spanish because there were
fewer Indians where they settled.
African slaves proved crucial to the development of each economy, especially in the South.
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